Welcome!

November 14, 2011
Filed under: random junk — anthony @ 12:56 pm

Hello and welcome to the oldest, largest and frankly the best root beer reviewing site in the world! over 625 brands reviewed so far! i also throw in birch beer and sarsaparilla reviews occasionally while i am at it since to me, they are the same genre. once in a while i even detour into other branches of the root beer tree, such as spruce beer, dandelion & burdock and the like. a new review publishes every week on Monday with the random post or review of root beer related stuff every once in a while. feel free to submit your own ratings, check out the rankings from me and other visitors, see what sodas are available near you and more. make a float, tap a keg or mix some extract up and enjoy!

anthony (me) started reviewing root beer related drinks in '96 but has always loved the delicious joy of root beer and birch beer and just kept it going ever since. if you have any suggestions of features you'd like to see or sodas you want reviewed, let me know!

 
 

Earp’s Original Sarsaparilla

July 22, 2013
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 4:38 am
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: WA, online Obtained in: mail order
Head: Small Sweetener: cane sugar
Calories: 160 Sodium: 50mg
Carbs: 42g Sugar: 41g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.earps.com

some relative of the famous US Marshall, Wyatt Earp, supposedly was handed down a book of recipes and junk. whether the famous guy ever actually had anything to do with that book or if it was just some other relative with the last name is unclear. so in that book was a recipe for "dinner sauce" which they realized was barbeque sauce really. they decided to go with it and try it out and soon started making it for sale. flash forward a few years and someone realizes that sarsaparilla conjures images of the old west so they may as well get some name recognition off the bat, sort of a celebrity endorsement. thus was born this beverage. it was not in the book or anything, just a joint venture between a beverage company and a barbeque company in the end.
it looks nice at least. Mike Earp (the current relative, making the soda and BBQ sauce) is in his full get up, guns swing'n and mustache waxed up in front of a sheriff badge in front of a wanted poster type thing with bullet holes in it. yes, it is very multi-layered. so they have that going for them. the taste is not so multi-layered but it is fine. nothing special really though. i don't think i would even classify this as a sarsaparilla, it is more a root beer to me. a little sharp though so that makes it lean more to the sarsaparilla side and less to the usual creamy root beer side. it seems a little overcarbonated but that is not reflected in the foam as it has a pretty small head. whatever. that adds to the sharp feel and to the burping i am doing right now. so it is ok, no great shakes, not offensive. not taking risks like ole Wyatt used to, but this is a calmer time, full of law men watching our every move, best to stay under the radar.
Ingredients:carbonated water, pure cane sugar, natural and artificial flavors, phosphoric acid, caramel color, sodium benzoate (a preservative)

Anthony's Rating: 81
User's Rating: 73
# of ratings:2

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Empire Bottling Works Sarsaparilla

July 7, 2005
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 9:45 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: NY, RI, online Obtained in: ordered online
Head: Medium Sweetener: cane sugar
Caffeine: No

it has been much too long that i have had this soda in the fridge. i cannot say it is as unique as the rootbeer was. i mean, it is quite tasty but it in a much more generic-ly good root beer way, not so much in a sarsaparilla way. i find that weird really, that the rootbeer would be the more herbal one while the sarsaparilla is the normal one. oh well. i don't have a lot to tell here, it is good, i like the cane sugar flavor. it does not stand out but i don't mind that so much really.
Anthony's Rating: 87
User's Rating: 91
# of ratings:8

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Free Natural Sasperilla

March 31, 2002
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 4:39 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 250 ml glass bottle
Available: UK Obtained in: mail from Sam
Head: Tiny Sweetener: grape juice concentrate
Caffeine: No

just the fact that they spelled "sarsaparilla" totally wrong should have clued me in here. the second clue being how bad the root beer was. i mean, if you can't do root beer right, can you possibly do a decent sarsaparilla? but i thought the best of them and gave it a shot. i think this may take the title of the worst beverage i have ever had. it is a little bad coming in the mouth, gets worse as it fully hits the tongue and just hits bottom when you swallow it. bitter, foul, malty awfulness fully abounds here. my gosh this is just SO bad!

DANGER avoid this at all costs!
Anthony's Rating: 3
User's Rating: 55
# of ratings:22

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Hansen’s Signature All Natural Sarsaprilla Soda

March 22, 2000
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 5:45 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 14oz glass bottle
Available: CT, NJ, NY, online Obtained in: Quik Chek, NJ
Head: Large Sweetener: cane sugar, honey
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.hansens.com

from the get go, you know this soda is wacky. the bottle is strange looking, it is 14 ounces instead of the usual 12. then you see it has a "blend of Madagascan, Indonesian and Tahitian Vanilla Extracts." what the heck is that about?! at first, i always enjoy this soda. it is very full bodied, you can taste the honey and vanilla distinctly. yet, as i drain more and more of it, i always feel a little sick. it is too rich perhaps. i do not know. not that it is a bad sick always, sometimes it is kind of nice. overall, it is not really a sarsaparilla but more of a creamy, rich root beer.
Ingredients:Triple filtered carbonated water, cane sugar, caramel color, malic acid, natural spices, blend of Madagascan, Indonesian, and Tahitian vanilla extracts, honey, wintergreen extract and natural flavors.

Anthony's Rating: 79
User's Rating: 72
# of ratings:67

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Health Valley Sarsaparilla Root Beer

October 19, 1997
Filed under: root beers,sarsaparillas — anthony @ 5:29 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: NJ, NY, online Obtained in: Berkeley Heights, NJ
Head: Small Sweetener: molasses, fructose
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.healthvalley.com/

i don't understand this stuff at all. there is no real brand on it, yet it is not generic or anything i do not think, especially at like $1.50 a bottle… plus it is only sold by the individual bottle at this one Grand Union. maybe it is other places but not that i have seen. another, it is kind of lame, too herb-y really. that weird anise / licorice flavor going on but it still doesn't work well i do no think. just ok really. and how does one classify it?! i need to pigeon hole! i cannot compare against peers if i do not know if it is a sarsaparilla or a root beer! well, since they make an "Old Fashioned Root Beer" or whatever also, perhaps this is the
Ingredients:Sparkling spring water, fructose, molasses, our own natural sarsaparilla flavoring of licorice root extract, natural oils of anise, cherry bark extract, and herbal extracts.

Anthony's Rating: 36
User's Rating: 60
# of ratings:38

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Hey Song Extra Salty Sarsaparilla

April 28, 2014
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 330ml can
Available: NJ, Thailand Obtained in: asian market in South Plainfield, NJ
Head: Small Sweetener: unknown
Caffeine: No

every once in a while i will try to go to one of the gigantic asian markets in my area when i pass them, just to check if they have any different sarsaparillas or perhaps even a root beer. and of course to get some men's pocky and koala yummies. i do it less and less often since i seem to have less and less free time. yet i was near one i had never been to with a few minutes of extra time and thought i would take a quick look. lo and behold this beauty! extra salty Hey Song right next to the normal Hey Song Sarsaparilla! at first i grabbed a six pack which had an english sticker with the info on it, but then i saw i could get a single can so just got 2 of those instead. i did not realize they lacked the english info sticker so i am quite in the dark about ingredients and nutrition content and so on. oh well, no matter.
i always expect foreign sodas to be bad. based on past experience that is usually the case, sadly. my american palette is not as accustomed to the flavors perhaps or maybe everyone thinks they are bad although in that case i can't imagine the company lasting too long. but this is actually decent. maybe even good. unique at least. although i have not had regular Hey Song in a while, i don't think this one tastes any saltier. the flavor is similar, it is sort of bubble gum/herbal tasting but not in a sickly sweet way. i would not call it american sarsaparilla by any means, but the drink seems to have evolved/mutated/gone some other way in the asian market. i don't know how much they use actual sarsaparilla in this style drink, but then again, it is not used at all in american sarsaparilla anyway. maybe they use the leaves or something more than the root? i have no idea, just making junk up. it is a pretty sweet drink that hits you with a bit of a bitter taste for a second on initial mouth entry but which fades away quickly. it is interesting and different and i enjoy it. i would not expect to but i do. i will have to get a can of this and one of the regular and compare them side by side to see if they truly taste different.
Anthony's Rating: 82
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Hey Song Sarsaprilla Drink

October 9, 2000
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 5:46 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12 oz can
Available: NJ Obtained in: Green Brook, NJ
Head: Small Sweetener: high fructose corn syrup
Caffeine: No

this really tastes like bark. which may just be what sarsaprilla originally tasted like, but today it does not. i don't like this at all, yet i am strangely attracted to it. i had a can of it a few months ago and the familiar feeling is returning to my stomach. maybe it has grown on me but i just feel like it will make me poo or something.
Anthony's Rating: 24
User's Rating: 84
# of ratings:125

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Homemade Soda Co Sassy Sarsaparilla

June 10, 2013
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 4:04 am
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: extract
Available: online Obtained in: mailorder from company
Head: None Sweetener:
Caffeine: No
Website: http://homemadesodacompany.com

ok, well, this is a new concept for me. this company makes extracts, four (4!) different root beers, a birch beer and a sarsaparilla. i figured i could do what i have done in the past with soda syrups and just add it to seltzer in the recommended amount and have a drink. whoa, yuck! i had not realized that syrups and extracts are quite different in that extracts are not sweetened while a syrup is. that makes sense but it complicates things a bit more for my purposes. all i can really do is try to follow their directions anyway and see what results. yet, the instructions are for making a five gallon batch with yeast carbonation. i don't want to make that much, i just want a glass. and i don't want to yeast carbonate as it always taste bad. so i am just going to guess a bit with some simple syrup, seltzer and this extract. an inexact science but close enough. i think i will also try making it with my soda siphon as they also have directions for that method, even though it requires more planning.
so after all that, how is it? as i can kind of make it how i want it to taste, it is pretty decent. i made it pretty sweet but with a good amount of flavor. it is pretty strong and "rooty" if that helps describe it. very robust and hearty, it is not your average sarsaparilla. it delivers on that "sassy" promise. not like Sassy magazine either. well, maybe like mid 90s Sassy when it was pretty good and interesting, in between when it was lame. i have no idea if it is even still around. probably not. so yeah, the soda… you can taste the herbs and feel like this is more authentic to how sarsaparilla once tasted. which is not to say that it is amazing. it is fine and ok, but i don't love it and wouldn't make it all the time. or crave it at night or something. i will try it with the siphon and see how that turns out though, perhaps it will be tastier.
ok, i am back, some time later. i have made it with the siphon this time. i would say it is about the same. which actually surprises me, i thought it would be sweeter or stronger, but i suppose i got the amounts right last time. cool. but the rest of this batch of sodas i will just do in the siphon, it is pretty easy really and i have the process down well. it is a decent soda but not the best or the worst. good but not spectacular.
Anthony's Rating: 72
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Hosmer Mountain Sarsaparilla

April 1, 2004
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 5:55 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 28oz glass bottle
Available: CT Obtained in: mail from company
Head: Medium Sweetener: corn sweetener
Caffeine: Yes
Website: http://www.hosmersoda.com/

wow, i think this is a first for me, a sarsaparilla with caffeine! wacky indeed. so Hosmer Mountain was kind enough to send me a few of their sodas which i have had had before. and i of course was rude enough to put off reviewing them for a while. but i am going to try to do them all today! so yeh, this soda is pretty decent. a little bit dull though if anything. a little bit of a bite to it, but on the whole a rather uneventful drink. mind you, it is not bad, i like it much better than many sodas but it does not distinguish itself. except for that whole having caffeine thing.
Anthony's Rating: 83
User's Rating: 68
# of ratings:10

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Hosmer Mountain Sarsaparilla Root Beer

April 1, 2004
Filed under: root beers,sarsaparillas — anthony @ 3:39 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: CT Obtained in: mail from company
Head: Large Sweetener: corn sweetener, brown sugar
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.hosmersoda.com/

so this is about to get confusing, for you and for me. i reviewed the "Root Beer" above a while ago. then they sent me this "Sarsaparilla Root Beer" along with "Sarsaparilla" and "Root Beer!" and they all have different ingredients and so far, they seem to taste different. granted i cannot really recall the taste of the soda from 2 years ago or whatever, but i would not describe this one that way. at least not the part about the high carbonation as it is pretty low here. still a bit syrupy but not too much so that i would note it i don't think. this is actually a kind of rich, quite creamy (yes creamy!) drink. i think the brown sugar is more distinct in this one too and i like it the best of their offerings so far.
Anthony's Rating: 91
User's Rating: 81
# of ratings:15

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda: